Child-Guided Interview Protocol
We will be running this term’s Parent Teacher Interviews in a child-guided format. It is imperative that you carefully read the following guidelines in order to ensure that both you and your child have a positive and informative interview session.
The Casa program is named after the Italian Casa dei Bambini which translates into “House of the Child”. It is this foundation upon which we build our day to day classroom environment. For this set of interviews, we are inviting you to see your child’s classroom from their perspective. This means that you, like a teacher, will have a specific role. While some of our suggestions may seem unusual or even rigid, please remember a Montessori classroom is a child’s place – the adults are only there to guide when required. Maria Montessori said, “The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’ While we wish you could observe for an entire three hour work cycle, we feel this interview is a way to give you a snapshot of your child’s day. Ideally, your child would follow their curiosity and choose work that speaks to them in that moment – this is the real magic that happens daily in a Montessori classroom. Instead, your child has chosen work in advance that they would like to show you.
We are going to do our best to adapt our classroom so that your child may feel ‘at home’ and you can properly observe. We greatly appreciate your support and diligence in following these guidelines:
- We can accommodate no more than two adults per family per interview.
- Please arrive 5 minutes before your interview is set to begin. Take this time to observe your child at their cubby. They do not need any help hanging up their coats or removing their outdoor shoes. You are welcome to hang up your coat and remove your outdoor shoes too, if you wish.
- One of the more obvious ways to demonstrate someone is just observing is to stand with hands behind the back. You may want to do this while your child is preparing to enter their classroom and any time that you might be standing to observe.
- Once your child is ready, please wait quietly in the hallway with your child until your teacher guide emerges from the room.
- Your child will enter the classroom first, shaking the teacher’s hand at the door, put their indoor shoes on, and begin their day as usual.
- Your teacher guide will provide you with a note pad and a pencil so that you can conveniently jot down notes or questions during your observations. With your teacher guide, we will invite you into the classroom. We ask that you do your best to be silent once you cross the threshold.
- We firmly ask that you stick to your teacher guide like glue. You will be directed to an appropriate observation location inside the classroom. Here your teacher guide will work to quietly answer your questions, and provide you with informative commentary specific to your child. You will also have time to silently observe. If your child requires a teacher’s support during their work cycle, we ask that you do not approach them, but allow the teacher guide to enter in and offer that guidance. This will be a wonderful opportunity for you to observe how your child interacts with their teacher in the classroom setting.
- After about 20 minutes of work, the bell will ring. This signals to the children that it is time to pack up their work and get ready for home time. You will have an opportunity to observe this transition.
- We will shake your child’s hand at the doorway to say ‘good bye’ before beginning the next interview time slot. Please respect that we are on a tight schedule and appreciate your help to stay on track.
If you have questions or observations that you would like to share with your teachers, please send us a detailed e-mail.
Thank you for taking time to carefully read these guidelines. We are looking forward to embarking on this new journey with you and your child. Remember that this experience is new for all of us, and we are open to hearing your feedback after the experience.
One final note to pique your interest and to help you to understand our methodology. Please take a few minutes to follow this link for two examples of Montessori ‘glass classrooms’.
Your Casa Teaching Team